Just an hour's drive from Cairns on the Atherton Tablelands, Lake Barrine National Park is a lovely day-trip that the whole family will enjoy. Unlike many attractions in far northern Queensland, it's not overly crowded and commercialised, making it the perfect spot to visit if you're wanting some peaceful time amongst nature.
Situated high in the tablelands, and surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest, Lake Barrine is a crater lake formed by an ancient volcanic eruption.
These days, visitors to the National Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including a scenic cruise around the lake and a picnic in the tropical gardens - popular diversions that have been enjoyed by visitors for almost a century. There is also a walking trail around the lake, while another trail leads to the Twin Kauri Pines, reputed to be around a thousand years old. These trails are suitable for people of all fitness levels, and are a great way to appreciate the park's unique flora and fauna. On a hot day you might also enjoy a refreshing dip in the lake's clear waters.
A popular destination for visitors is also the lovely old tea house that overlooks the lake. Built eighty years ago, it's constructed in the iconic Queenslander style, out of local timber. Its charming interior features include classic wood-panelled walls, a rustic fireplace (essential during the short but chilly winter), an old piano and plenty of historic photographs.
The foyer serves as a visitor's centre, with a comprehensive display of information about the park and its surrounds. Downstairs, there is a small gift shop.
Directions Situated just sixty kilometres from Cairns, Lake Barrine is very easy to reach by private transport. From Cairns, drive south along the Bruce Highway, turn right into the Gillies Highway at Gordonvale, and drive up the mountains until you reach the top. The turn-off to the National Park is located about eight kilometres before Yungaburra, and is clearly marked.
Lake Barrine National Park is not accessible by public transport, so if you haven't got a car, the best way to get there would be to join a tour.
Whether you're a North Queenslander or a local, Lake Barrine National Park is a great spot to head for at any time of the year. The easy scenic walks make it perfect for families with young kids or elderly people with mobility issues.